Scaling Up Anonymous Communication with Efficient Nanopayment Channels

Authors: Thien-Nam Dinh (Sandia National labs), Florentin Rochet (UCLouvain Crypto Group), Olivier Pereira (UCLouvain Crypto Group), Dan S. Wallach (Rice University)

Volume: 2020
Issue: 3
Pages: 175–203

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Abstract: Tor, the most widely used and well-studied traffic anonymization network in the world, suffers from limitations in its network diversity and performance. We propose to mitigate both problems simultaneously through the introduction of a premium bandwidth market between clients and relays. To this end, we present moneTor: incentivizing nodes to join and support Tor by giving them anonymous payments from Tor users. Our approach uses efficient cryptographic nanopayments delivered alongside regular Tor traffic. Our approach also gives a degree of centralized control, allowing Tor’s managers to shape the economy created by these payments. In this paper, we present a novel payment algorithm as well as a data-driven simulation and evaluation of its costs and benefits. The results show that moneTor is both feasible and flexible, offering upwards of 100% improvements in differentiated bandwidth for paying users with near-optimal throughput and latency overheads.

Keywords: Tor, cryptocurrency, payment channels

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